Book review

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (2000)

Book one in the Alex Rider series

So, could you save the world, if you really had to? Could you escape from a car crushing machine with seconds to spare, complete an SAS training course, dive through freezing underground waters in pitch darkness, parachute out of aeroplanes over London, shoot your enemies, tussle with man-killing jellyfish, and more?

Alex Rider can. But only because he has to. It isn't a deliberate career choice, exactly.

Only after his uncle, Ian Rider,?dies mysteriously in a car crash, does Alex begin to ponder the identity of the man who had looked after him since he was orphaned as a baby. Alex's preliminary investigations, which scared the life out of me, soon draw the attention of his uncle's former employers - none other than MI6. They've got a proposition for Alex:

'...The timing couldn't be better. You'll be able to meet Herod Sayle, keep an eye on him and tell us what you think. Perhaps you'll also find out what it was that your uncle discovered and why he had to die. You shouldn't be in any danger. After all, who would suspect a fourteen-year-old boy of being a spy?'

Looks like a deal is about to be struck. Alex can either go and rot in the nearest orphanage, or he can just do this little job for MI6:

'You're blackmailing me!' Alex exclaimed.
'Not at all.'

If it's?a fast-moving rough-and-tumble spy story you're after, with crazed arch-villain in search of world domination - or worse - then this is for you. I loved it! All the realism of a James Bond adventure, and no more improbable for having a teenage hero:

'Just remember, Alex Rider, you're never too young to die.'

What can I read next?

If you are a sudden fan of Anthony Horowitz, you're in luck! There are more Alex Rider books:

  • Stormbreaker
  • Point Blanc
  • Skeleton Key
  • Eagle Strike

If you really like the idea of a boy working as a spy, you might like to have a look at this book by Martin Booth, set in the Second World War:

And if you really just enjoy an action-packed adventure where the hero never puts a foot wrong, I think you might enjoy this story by Kenneth Oppel:

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